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Set Achievable Business Goals

How to set achievable business goals

Setting goals is a good way of ensuring we get things done, both personally and in a business setting. The trouble is, we often set goals which are difficult to achieve. Here we will look at how to set achievable business goals from an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) angle, to help you get what you want from your business.

In NLP, goals are referred to as outcomes. A goal which is likely to be met is a well-formed outcome. The following characteristics can be used to assess whether a goal you have set is a well-formed outcome:

  • Positive – Focussing on what you want (as opposed to what you don’t want)
  • In your control – Do you have the power to achieve your goal? Ensure you don’t have to rely on anyone/anything else for the goal to be achieved.
  • Specific – What and how specifically. Use the senses to explore and define your specific goal so you know exactly what you are aiming for.
  • Context – Who, what, when, where?
  • Resources – What do you need to achieve your goal?
  • Impact/consequences – what consequences will your goal have on other things, aspects of your life, people etc.


Focussing your attention on what you want rather then what you don’t want encourages your mind to think about the thing you want, meaning you are more likely to notice opportunities to get it. If you focus on what you don’t want, there is no clear indication of what you do want, and you will find no signals to look out for which can lead you to your goal. For example,  rather than setting a goal such as “I don’t want be messy anymore”, which focusses on the thing you don’t want and draws your attention to the messiness, you could set a goal such as “I want to clear out my house and give all the things I don’t use to charity by the end of the month” This is much more specific. It focusses your mind on doing the thing you want. You can picture it and you will now consciously and unconsciously look for opportunities that can help you reach the goal.

Attainable and in your control

For a goal to be attainable, it has to be in your control. That means that it doesn’t rely on anyone else for it to happen. For example, “I want my team to complete all jobs within a ten day turn around time”. This goal relies on your team to work more efficiently and, with the way it is worded, no onus is put on you. If instead the goal was, “By the end of the quarter, I want to provide training and support to my team, enabling them to complete all jobs within a ten-day turnaround time”. This moves the responsibility onto yourself, meaning you are the only person that can achieve your goal and you aren’t relying on other people for it to happen.


Being specific about what you want to feel, see and hear when you have achieved your goal can really help you reach it. Rather than having a goal like “I want my business to be successful”, we should think about what that really means. What will it feel like when you have a successful business? What will you be able to see? Will you be in a big bright office? Will you have more free time? Has your business earned you enough money that you can take your family on holiday or buy a new house? By defining specifics, we really picture what we want and can get to work on achieving it. Including all the senses when imagining reaching your goal is helpful, as well as setting a specific timescale.


You need to be clear about the context in which you want to achieve your goal. You’ll more than likely have different goals for your business than you do for your personal life. Even in different areas of work, you may have different types of goals. You need to ask yourself: where, when and with whom is your goal in relation to? Giving your outcomes a context ensures that you achieve the goals in the area of your life that you want to.


Think about what you will need to achieve your goal. These can be things like knowledge, skills and time, or physical things like equipment. Once you know what you need to enable you to work on reaching your goal, you can work out how to get it. For example, if your goal is to gain 15 new clients by the end of the quarter, you may realise that you need sales skills, and to get these you may need to read certain books or go to workshops. If you have assessed that you can access the necessary resources, you are a step closer to achieving your goal.


It is extremely important to assess the impact that achieving your outcome/goal will have on other things. The consequences on other people and aspects of your life can be big or small, positive or negative, and it is essential, for an outcome to be well-formed that you think about this. For example, you may want to get fifteen new clients by the end of the quarter. What impact will this have on your free time? Will all the new work you have to do mean you spend less time with your family? Will it mean you no longer get to take part in the hobby you enjoy? For your outcome to be well-formed, you must be aware and comfortable with the consequences.

Once you have considered all of the characteristics that make a well-formed outcome, you will have a good idea if you have set yourself a goal which is achievable.

Set achievable business goals

Well-formed outcomes can help us in our business and personal life. Business goals are often a sales target, or profit figure, and it is rare that they are well-formed outcomes, that can be imagined through the senses. However, your business is much more likely to get to the place you want it to if its outcomes are well-formed. When setting goals for teams, it is a lot easier for everyone involved to be fully onboard with a shared goal if it is a well-formed outcome. Each team member will be able to envision the goal and fully understand where they are headed, rather than a vague numerical target, which they can’t identify with.

Join us for our next free webinar!

Setting goals is one of the important steps to building a better business. If you would like to learn more, come along to our next free educational webinar: Build a Better Business in 10 Steps.

You’ll learn the ten most important ways to make your business more successful and you’ll leave with practical strategies which you can implement so your business reaches its true potential.

The webinar will take place on Friday 30th October at 10am.

It will last around one hour, with a chance to ask any questions at the end.

The webinar is free and open to anyone to join, so feel free to pass these details on to anyone who might be interested!

We hope you can make it!

Register here

We can help you reach your business goals!

At Rosslyn Associates, we provide business coaching and advisory services for owner managed businesses. The combination of our accounting, tax, NLP and coaching skills puts us in the perfect place to help guide you to growing the business you really want. We can help you set well-formed outcomes for your business and put a plan in place to help you achieve them. By talking to you and getting to know you and your business, we can discover what you really want. Combing this with the analysis of your financial data means that you can grow your business and get exactly what you want out of it, whether that’s more time, more money or to grow a business you are really passionate about. If you would like to discuss how we could work together, get in touch! You can call the office on 0131 445 1825 or email and one of our team will be happy to help!

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